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Old 09-27-2007, 05:14 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

Do not assume that someone somewhere is working on anything connected to our hobby. We are too small and do not amount to much in the way of money. Money drives just about everything in this world. One of the amusing things that I have observed is that while any observant, local may very well know about any given creature but the academic world does not credit it’s existence until someone collects, kills, and puts it in a jar on a shelf at some university. Then the taxonomists begin sharp shooting and sometimes engage in attempts to get everyone to go along with, at times, wholesale changing of names and relationships. The point here is that even “scientific: nomenclature is not set in stone. Many years ago I read an essay by Nobel Laureate Sir John Echols about the difference between science and technology. The attribute of science, according to Sir John, was that science is done without the profit motive. Some “Scientists” are creating information we can use. But that being admitted a lot of the advance of information in this hobby has been the result of gifted amateurs in the hobby who report their results in Hobby Publications and here on the net.

In any communication it is important that the communicants are on the same page. This is where “scientific” nomenclature using Genus and species can be useful. Once everyone is on the same page anything can be called whatever the parties are comfortable with. This is probably the main reason why we have a dual system for describing things. The different languages and cultures we have to contend with makes it even more imperative to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

Having been around a long time and enjoying taxonomic designations I still enjoy and use common terms. The so called “scientific” names are usually easy once you learn the Latin but everything is not in Latin and everyone does not use the same rules. I got a chuckle out of the comment “to say it like you mean it” cause it reminds me of the two axioms I refer to all of the time. i.e. If you are cooking something that is not very tasty, use a lot of salt and if you are a musician and can not play very good, play loud! Beyond the correct way to pronounce a particular word, the close to correct spelling of Genus and species will usually allow folks to sort out meanings and correct identifications.

It would be nice, if there was some means of doing so, to include common names on the plant ID sections of the plant forums.

This is a great discussion. Thank all of you. All the thoughts are great.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:29 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

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Originally Posted by guaiac_boy View Post
Are you implying that Didiplis diandra, Ludwigia arcuata and L. brevipes all have similar growth patterns, light requirements, substrate & hardness preferences, and appearance? If so then it's clear that you haven't actually kept these plants. I for one would be pretty upset if I ordered L. arcuata and got a clump of Didiplis. It would be like paying for a horse and getting a camel.

Call one a long, weedy, fast-growing plant and another a short, squatty, broad-leafed, slow-growing plant if you'd like. Personally, I'll stick with Hygrophila and Anubias.
Agreed. I've kept well over 200 species of plants to date and while some do have similar appearances their subtle differences are still appreciated by most.
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Old 10-04-2007, 12:16 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

I'm sorry I didn't communicate well. I'm not trying to prevent anyone from keeping/trading/naming any plant the way they wish. I'm not asking for anyone to change whatever they're doing. I'm asking for help with an addition. It's not an exclusive proposition: having common names to complement Latin ones.

It just so happens that when plants have common names, we tend to use them, because (for reasons highlighted in my previous posts), they're more convenient. Once again, if you feel better handling a Nymphaea zenkeri 'red' rather than a Tiger Lotus, that's super -- it's just not how most people feel. And I think APC could help with this naming process.

But how about helping me come up with common names for the plants in the PlantFinder. Be the one to name that plant! Come on, that would be pretty cool.
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Old 10-04-2007, 04:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

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I'm sorry I didn't communicate well. I'm not trying to prevent anyone from keeping/trading/naming any plant the way they wish. I'm not asking for anyone to change whatever they're doing. I'm asking for help with an addition. It's not an exclusive proposition: having common names to complement Latin ones.

It just so happens that when plants have common names, we tend to use them, because (for reasons highlighted in my previous posts), they're more convenient. Once again, if you feel better handling a Nymphaea zenkeri 'red' rather than a Tiger Lotus, that's super -- it's just not how most people feel. And I think APC could help with this naming process.

But how about helping me come up with common names for the plants in the PlantFinder. Be the one to name that plant! Come on, that would be pretty cool.
How about we start a thread about common names where people can suggest them? That would probably be a good start.
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Old 10-04-2007, 04:49 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

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-- it's just not how most people feel.
Hmmmm. I'm not sure about that. I have nothing against common names, but it's far easier for me to use the Genus and species for most plants. At least it avoids a certain amount of confusion on the reader's part.

I also have nothing against you trying to suggest "new" common names. Just don't be disapointed if it doesn't work out the way you want. You're trying to change something that has evolved in the hobby over several decades.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:02 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

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3- It complicates our communications needlessly. Even the sticky in this forum about "common spelling mistakes" contained a number of spelling mistakes (corrected in followup posts, so at this point it's probably good). Except that there are sometimes genuine questions about whether a given specie exists or not. So what do we do? Nothing, ignore the problem.
And that's only in writing. Others have pointed out that in speech, Latin's a disaster. I know my club auctioneer would gladly welcome english-based names for most plants.
It complicates our communications needlessly? I disagree! In fact, I'd say it's the exact opposite. Take 'Red Ludwigia', for example. What exactly does that mean? L. repens? L. arcuata? L. palustris? If one says, or types L. repens, it avoids a lot of unnecessary confusion. L. repens will always be L. repens. Pretty simple.

Specie is coin money and has nothing whatsoever to do with nomenclature. One species, two species.

Nobody I know, even amongst the most diehard nerds like me, goes around saying Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba'. It is frequently known as just 'Cuba'. So yes, people do use common names here and there.

We try to incorporate the commonest of the common names in entries (say someone wants to know what his locally bought 'baby tears' is), but apart from including those, I don't think that introducing 'new' common names is something to be encouraged. In fact, I see it as possibly cluttering communication and therefore counterproductive. Scientific names have their advantages (I won't won't delve into why once again here) and that's what we'd like to promote.

The system created by Linnaeus isn't perfect, but it works, isn't abstruse , and is well suited to our purposes.

Our local fish club is probably one of the best anywhere, with some really accomplished breeders (locally raised loaches and so forth). People there toss around common names (mostly for common stuff) but all use scientific names and you can bet your bottom dollar that they know what everything is.
That's a main point of mine right there, that at least somebody knows.

Nobody has to go use scientific names or keep up with the latest updates if they don't want to and that's fine. Our purpose here is to provide a place where people who, for whatever reason, do want to know what is what can find out what they have, how to care for it and so on.

As Aaron has pointed out, some of us enjoy researching plant identities and pinning down what someone has the same way that some people like aquascaping.
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:13 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

That's a good point. for example I saw as ad for an HM bush which I assumed was Hermianthus micanthemoides. It appears that some call this Pearlweed and some call it Baby Tears. Can anybody clarify this?
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:02 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

both common names have been used for that particular plant, as well as for several others (ie Hemianthus micranthemoides, Micranthemum umbrosum, and Hemianthus calicitroides have all been called 'baby tears'). An HM bush, despite the abbreviation, gives more clarity than a "Baby Tears bush", which could mean 3 different plants.....
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:55 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

About pronunciation of latin:
http://www.ai.uga.edu/mc/latinpro.pdf

Another problem: new plants (especially mosses) often come into the trade with wrong scientific names and I think these may cause much more confusion than popular or phantasy names (not sounding like scientific ones) would do. When new plants are presented under scientific names (as trade names), often I wish to get more information about the source of the name (who has determined the plant, which company sold it first under this name, etc.) in order to estimate the reliability of the scientific (or seemingly scientific) name.

Last edited by miremonster; 03-27-2009 at 02:03 PM..
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:00 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why accurate plant names are important

I do have to second what Cavan said.

I give the guy a really hard time - in a good natured way - about scientific names. I am routinely the guy who says "aww, just call it XXX" with a roll of the eyes and a chuckle. But that is all it is, good natured ribbing.

In reality, you can bet your fanny I know about 95% of the latin names - and can spew them just like anyone else, too. It is sort of a rite of passage within our club, you learn them quickly, or you stand there wondering what plants are in the auctions.

Especially in an online venue, knowing and using the proper naming is important - using the Didiplis Diandra/L. Arcuata/L. Brevipes example, some mediocre photography equipment and/or skills could make all of them look very similar in online photo shots - but all are quite different in person.

(And coming from someone who's photography is most commonly referred to be the self monikered "Horrid and Blurry" within my club, believe me, I know it can be done. )

In person, yes, I tend to want to use common names when it is applicable and useable. I almost always abbreviate proper names - Ludwigia Cuba, Anubias Petite - in person. I sometimes use abbreviated names, but almost never common names, over the internet though.
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